Sunday, January 31, 2010

Izis, forgotten photographer

The Hôtel de Ville de Paris is exhibiting 250 works of  Izraël Biderman, known as Izis, until the 29th of March.  As part of the humanist movement in photography in the 50s, he was well-known enough to be part of the group show Five French Photographers in  New York's MoMA, along with Brassaï, Doisneau, Ronis and Cartier-Bresson.

His subjects are similar to the other photographer's images of  Paris with its bridges plunging into mist, lover's embraces, faces in the crowd. A compilation of his photographs, Paris des rêves, was immensely successful when it was published in 1950. In it, forty-five writers, among them Louise de Vilmorin, Jean Cocteau and André Breton composed poems to go with the photos. He was the only photographer that Marc Chagall would work with and his poetic vision permitted him to work in tandem wth Jacques Prévert and Colette as well.

Izis was also well-known as a staff photographer at  Paris- Match for 20 years.
Strange that this body of work has been mostly forgotten until now. It may be because Izis died in 1980 just before an interest for the after war years was revived?

If the tragic loss of most of his family during World War II left him to bear guilt with a sometimes tormented artistic vision . . .   

there is a lasting tenderness in his images of Paris.

for  photo gallery , visit the Mairie de Paris

Source: Izis, photographe du spleen  Le Monde

1 comment:

  1. they are nostalgic-but reality based-love the last. thank the gods the work remains ready at the waiting to be discovered, Chagall can't have been wrong.